“Umrao Jaan, Razia Sultan closes to my heart,” music composer Khayyam

National Award-winning music director and Padma Bhushan awardee Mohammed Zahir Hashmi, renowned as ‘Khayyam,’ was cremated with full state honours at a Muslim cemetery in Mumbai. The legendary music composer passed away at the age of 92 following a brief illness.

Full Name: Mohammed Zahur Khayyam
Born: 18 February 1927 (Star Sign: Aquarius), Died: 19 August 2019

Born as Mohammed Zahoor Khayyam Hashmi in Jalandhar, Punjab, music maestro Khayyam initially used the pseudonym, Sharmaji, for his first full-fledged assignment, Footpath (1953), featuring Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari. the film had that popular ballad “Sham-e-Gham Ki Kasam”.

The maestero has given some of the most memorable songs, classical and modern, in films and private albums across various genres of music during his career spanning over six decades.

Khayyam won several awards including the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and the National Award for Umrao Jaan (1981).

Khayyam composed for the following movies:
Kabhi Kabhie, Umrao Jaan, Trishul, Razia Sultan, Thodi Si Bewafai, Bazaar, Dard, Dil-E-Nadaan, Chambal Ki Kassam, Footpath, Parbat Ke Us Paar, Shagoon, Mehndi, Aakhri Khat, Shola Aur Shabnam, Mohabbat Isko Kahte Hain, Lorie, Baawri, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke, Sankalp, Nakhuda, Shankar Husain.

“Raj Kapoor wanted someone who had read Crime and Punishment to do the songs of Phir Subah Hogi. Saab had read the book (by Fyodor Dostoevsky),” Khayyam’s wife Jagjit Kaur.


Watch: Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar Hoon from Kabhi Kabhie [1976]. Music by Khayyam, Lyrics By Sahir Ludhianvi

Khayyam won the National Film Award for Best Music Direction (for Umrao Jaan) and Asha Bhosle won the National Film Award for the best female playback singer for “In Aankhon Ki Masti” song.

“I remember when I was supposed to start work on the music of Umrao Jaan (1981), the songs of Pakeezah (1972) were a rage. I was tensed as it was difficult to come up with something as spectacular and to make a mark. I had to do lot of research about the history of Awadg before composing the songs of Umrao jaan. I wanted the tracks to have the right essence. It’s because of these challenges that Umrao Jaan is closest to my heart,” Khayyam.

Watch: In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke song from Umrao Jaan (1981).

“Unki Shayari ki samajh bahut kamaal thi…isliye Meer Taqi Meer jaise mahaan shayar ki shayari unhone filmon mein laayi…raag pahadi unka pasandida raag tha,” Lata Mangeshkar

Watch: Ae Dil e Nadaan Song from Razia Sultan (1983)

Khayyam and Jagjit Kaur: 1954, A love story

Khayyam and his singer-wife Jagjit Kaur, who have been inseparable since 1954, loved to spend time with each other.

Jagjit Kaur, born in an aristocratic family of Punjab, was an aspiring film playback singer. One evening, Khayyam followed her on the overbridge of the Dadar railway station. She felt he was stalking her and was about to raise an alarm when he summoned up the nerve to introduce himself as a music composer. Despite her father’s objections, Khayyam and Jagjit Kaur’s was among the first inter-communal marriages in the hindi film industry.

“How couldn’t I fall in love with saab after hearing his song ‘Sham-e-Gham Ki Kasam’?…Jagjit Kaur.

Watch: Shaam-e Gham Ki Qasam song from Footpath – Dilip Kumar – Talat Mahmood

“Music has been their life. And one more thing – she relishes the masala chai which Khayyam saab brews personally. That’s the way he has always reached out to her heart, with a chai ki pyaali.” Rinnkie Gill (Jagjit Kaur’s niece)

One visit to their seventh-floor home in Dakshina Apartments in Juhu and you can witness the durability of their love story ; almost every photograph on the living room’s walls and on the mantelpiece show them together, at music events, gatherings and award functions.

Read: 1954: A love story, featuring Khayyam and Jagjit Kaur